What Does MTSS Even Mean?

Written by Jaime Harris on October 03, 2018

Presented by Jaime Harris – Transcription Below

Introduction

Welcome to the Illuminate Whiteboard Series. I’m Jaime Harris. I am the Co-Founder of eduCLIMBER. I am a practicing school psychologist, and I’m also the Product Manager for Data Visualization here at Illuminate. Today, we’re gonna be talking about a multi-tiered system of supports or MTSS. So what does that really mean? When we think about MTSS, we really wanna make sure that we’re focusing on our universal analysis. So the big question there is really, “Where are we? Where are our kids? And is what we’re doing working? And then, how do we know that what we’re doing is actually working?”

Solid Data

So one of the best ways is to know your data and have really solid data. And that when you’re looking at, you know, like, a screening dataset, whatever you’re using in your district, if it’s AIMSweb, STAR, MAP, let’s see, DIBELS, those are all really great screeners, but we wanna make sure that we have 80% of our students responding to the instruction. If we don’t have 80% of students responding, it’s likely a core issue. So we need to change what we’re doing, take a step back, and think about, “What can we do different?”

It’s Not Just Academics
And then when we’re also thinking about MTSS, it’s not just focused on academics. We also are talking about behavior. So when we’re thinking about, “How many times do we have repeat offenders in the office?” so, “Are our practices in response to students’ misbehavior actually making a difference for kids?” And so we would know that if we had less than 80% of our students coming to the office for more than two to five incidents. We’re also thinking about social and emotional learning. So a great way to measure that would be through attendance data, health office visit data, specifically, thinking about health office visits for physical complaints. So those kids coming to the office for tummy aches and headaches.

Varied Instruction

So let’s just always be looking at some of our data and know that we really wanna make sure that we have 80% of our students responding. Then, when we’re thinking about the multi-tiered level, we’re talking about not just tiered services but, really, varied instruction. So we really wanna make sure that we’re focusing on students and, “What are those core components that they’re missing?” And really make sure that we’re targeting those specific skills that are a deficit area.

Instruction Has to be Targeted
So our supports, instruction really, really needs to be targeted, and we need to make sure that we’re monitoring that progress on a consistent basis using really solid, reliable, valid data points. So thinking about for behavior, you could use direct behavior ratings. You could use daily progress reports. For academics, let’s see, you can be using AIMSweb, DIBELS, anything really that is, again, psychometrically sound, so that it’s reliable and it’s valid, and it’s consistent over time.

So that’s just kind of a total look at MTSS at a high level. And thank you for joining me today on this Whiteboard Series. We’ll see you next time.

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